American Pottery Marks and Resource DirectoryA Reference Guide for Identifying American Pottery[retrieved from http://www.cajunc.com/pottery-marks]
Pottery identification has facets — clay color, glaze, shape and decoration are a few — but if you're lucky, the potter or pottery marked the item. Marks are incised or cut into the wet clay, impressed with a tool into the wet clay or stamped with a machine and ink on dry clay. Marks may also be created in the mold — and these are the most permanent. Paper labels are the least permanent marks, and many companies used a paper label and another method for marking wares.
If you are serious about learning pottery marks or identifying pottery, you'll need Lois Lehner's Encyclopedia Of US Marks On Pottery, Porcelain and Clay along with the Kovels' New Dictionary of Marks. The marks below are images we've captured on ceramics we have owned.
Debolt's Dictionary of American Pottery Marks is another good resource for identifying and porcelain.
Please don't copy our images but use them for free to help with identification of your pottery. We're emphasizing American pottery marks, but included a few Canadian pottery marks as well.
(Ed. Note: Not all makers have a mark here, or a good one. We'll update as able. Note that some of the marks have been enhanced for clarity — the original, unedited marks appear on linked photos. Click / tap images to view an image of the item.)
Abingdon pottery made artware from about 1934 to 1950 in Abingdon, Illinois. The pottery made plumbing fixtures long before and after the artware production. Abingdon is a high-fired pottery much like Alamo and Gilmer, using a white clay body. It's often marked with 3 numbers or with the Abingdon name in a stamped rectangle, circle or a diamond. Abingdon shapes are often plain Art Deco or geometric style and the glazes are smooth and often tertiary colors — unusual blues, greens and pinks.
Alamo Pottery started about 1945 in San Antonio, Texas, making small vitreous ceramics and art ware. Alamo Pottery expanded to Hondo, Texas, and became a profitable sanitary ware business. The Alamo Pottery was sold to Universal-Rundle in 1951, after nearly 7 years in business. The black Alamo mark is older than the blue mark.
Alan Stegall Pottery
Alan Stegall and his wife, Nancy, have a pottery business in Erwin, Tennessee. In addition to making pots for sale, Alan and Nancy maintain a gallery that promotes other local artisans. The Tennessee Association of Craft Artists website indicates that the Stegalls make utilitarian stoneware as well as pottery.
Treasuresof.com lists a little more information about the Stegall's Pottery and Crafts Gallery, along with some contact information, if you're looking to visit the pottery.
Alaska Native Clay
Alaska Native Clay pottery is made at Cook Inlet, Alaska of red and ecru clay, often in swirl designs. This pottery is glazed with a clear finish and is a product of Cook Inlet Native Clay Ceramics, often signed by hand "Alaska Native Clay."
Stanley Ballard was an Alfred University graduate in ceramics in 1939 who produced pottery in the mid-century modern style. Some of his work is marked S. Ballard, but paper labels identifying the pottery as "Ballard Hand Made" and "A Product of Vermont Craftsmanship" are usually his work. Ballard was an old Vermont family of potters, beginning with Orin, Alfred K. and Haria Ballard, brothers who purchased a pottery company in Burlington, Vermont in 1850 from E. L. Farrar.
J. A. Bauer pottery started production in Los Angeles, California in 1910. Early Bauer production was red clay and stoneware, but later production was dinnerware, table accessories and florist and garden pottery. Bauer expanded to Atlanta in 1945, producing Russel Wright designs for a short time. Bauer purchased Cemar Pottery molds in 1955 and made Cemar designs at the Bauer factory. Bauer closed in 1962 as a result of a union strike.
Bell California Pottery
Sometimes marked Bell of California, Bell Manufacturing Company was in Los Angeles in the 1950s, crafting figurines and artware for the American public. Also marked "Bell" inside a bell design.
Blue Mountain Pottery
Blue Mountain pottery comes from Collingwood, Ontario, Canada, operating from about 1947 to 2004. Blue Mountain started with purchased blanks, but began producing red clay bodies with drip glazes around 1953. The black-green combination is easiest to find and to recognize. Blue Mountain pottery isn't often marked, but drip glaze on red clay helps with identification.
Blue Ridge Pottery
Southern Potteries, Inc. was the parent company of Blue Ridge Pottery, located in Erwin, Tennessee. Southern Potteries was incorporated in 1920, but dinnerware hand painted under the glaze began in the 1930s and lasted until the late 1950s. Blue Ridge used different marks during this time, sometimes lines of script with the Southern Potteries and Blue Ridge names and sometimes a round mark with a pine tree.
Brayton Laguna Pottery
Durlin Brayton started the Brayton Laguna pottery in his Laguna Beach, California home in 1927, expanding to a dedicated facility, operating until about 1967. Artware marked Brayton's, Brayton Laguna or Laguna Pottery all appear to be Brayton products.
Broadmoor Pottery opened in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1933 as Broadmoor Art Pottery & Tile Company, primarily for tile production. Denver, Colorado was the location of Broadmoor Pavers, the sewer pipe and large paving tile division of the business. By the fall of 1937, the company had established Broadmoor Art Pottery in Denver to take advantage of clay deposits in the Golden, Colorado, area. P.H. Genter, J. B. Hunt, Eric Hellman and Cecil Jones are names to look for in Broadmoor and Colorado pottery as they signed some of the products.
Buffalo Pottery started in Buffalo, New York at the turn of the 20th century, fulfilling coupon orders from Larkin Soap for soap dishes. Buffalo pottery made semi-vitreous restaurant ware but is most famous for colorful Deldare Ware. The Book of Buffalo Pottery by Violet and Seymour Altman, published in 1969, is the leading publication on the company. Most Buffalo pottery is marked and sometimes includes an image of a buffalo.
Caliente Pottery was the name used by Virgil Haldeman for his pottery produced in Burbank, California at the Haldeman Pottery. This pottery made figurines and planters, candleholders and home accessories from about 1933 through 1947 in Burbank. Haldeman sold the factory in 1947. Production continued in Calabasas until 1953. Fine-quality figurines are often marked "Cal" in script.
California Originals pottery was located in Torrance, California, and the pottery is often marked Calif. Orig. or Cal. Orig. with three numbers for the shape. Often found with drip glazes during the mid-century modern era, this company produced ashtrays, cookie jars, vases and a few figurines.
Calpotter was a Laguna Beach, California pottery company operating in the 1940s and maybe into the 1950s. The wares were hand-painted with a rustic look and some were marked on the bottom with the Calpotter name.
Camark Pottery produced pottery in Camden, Arkansas, starting in 1926 and continuing until about 1962. Production after Jack Carnes's death in 1958 was intermittent and the factory closed in 1982.
Camark used labels and a typewriter mark as well as identification in the mold. Camark is noted for Lessell art pottery and handpainted flower designs, often over molded shapes. It made figurines, pitchers, demi cups and saucers and items with fancy handles.
Letitia Landers published three volumes of Camark Pottery: An identification and value reference in the 1990s, with catalog reprints in black and white.
For more information on Jack Carnes and Camark pottery, see The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.
Canuck Pottery is one of the better-known Canadian potteries. It operated in Saint John, New Brunswick and later LaBelle, Quebec, producing Evangeline Ware and other products in both white and red clay.
Canuck Pottery started producing Evangeline Ware about 1938. Like Blue Mountain Pottery, Evangeline Ware was red clay production.
We don't know much about Carmel Pottery. Our guess is that Carmel pottery was located in Carmel, California, but we have no information on this company. If you have any information on Carmel Pottery — don't hesitate to Contact Us.
Castleton China began production about 1939 in New Castle, Pennsylvania under an agreement with Rosenthal, a German porcelain company. Shenango Pottery operated independently but had invested money in Castleton, and by 1951 had taken over Castleton, changing the name to Shenango China in 1954. Castleton made White House china for both Eisenhower and Johnson.
Chantilly China (from Trenton, New Jersey) made Victorian figurines in the U.S similar to Cordey China. It used a hand-written mark or a stamp with thick letters for the name and sometimes shape numbers. Figurines were elegant and fragile with lace similar to Dresden, Germany figurines, typical of the 1940s and 1950s. Lehner shows Chantilly China sold by Tebor, Inc. and affiliated with American Crownford China.
Charleton Decorating Company
Charleton Decorating Company operated in New York, New York starting about 1941 and was a branch of Abels, Wasserberg & Co. Charleton decorated wares for many companies, including Fenton, Cambridge, Westmoreland and Consolidated Glass. It also decorated porcelain and pottery as well as glass, including lamps, clocks and figurines. Charleton often used pink enamel roses and a foil label identifies Charleton decoration. It didn't make the glass or porcelain object as the label might suggest. Michael and Lori Palmer wrote a book on The Charleton Line published by Schiffer Books.
Cherokee Pottery is located in Porum, Oklahoma, producing Cherokee Nation pottery since 1977. Much of the Cherokee production is dated as well as marked with "Cherokee" and an arrow.
David Chohlidakis is a contemporary Texas pottery from Devine who makes wheel-thrown pottery under the Chohlidakis Originals name. His pottery is utilitarian stoneware with unusual glazes, signed with the name in bold hand. Chohlidakis pottery distribution seems to be primarily in Texas and California.
This California pottery, usually with detailed hand-decoration, was made in Monterey Park starting about 1941 and later moved to El Monte. Some work is marked with two children holding a wreath marked "California Cleminsons." This pottery ceased business in the early 1960s, but its pottery is still available and reasonably priced.
A piebird and some other pieces of Cleminson pottery, California, are marked with an interlacing BC.
Cordey China Company
Cordey China Co. started making figurines and decorative items in Trenton, New Jersey about 1942. Vases, lamps and wall sconces were common production as well. Cordey workers applied handmade pottery flowers and leaves, with pink roses one of the favorites. Bolesaw Cybis was President of Cordey for about 10 years. He established Cybis Porcelain in the 1950s and died in 1957. Lightron Corporation purchased Cordey in 1969 and made lamps under the Schiller-Cordey name.
Coventry Ware was made in Barberton, Ohio, starting about 1932 by Carrie Daum. The first products were plaster, but by the 1940s, the business was making pottery figurines, flower holders and useful accessories for the table. Coventry was out of business by the 1960s.
Cowan Pottery operated in Cleveland, Ohio, making fine quality pottery and glazes starting about 1926, but was out of business by the Depression. Some artists signed the Cowan production, but the Cowan mark was an incised logo that resembles a circle with the cowan name. Learn more about Cowan Pottery in Mark Bassett's book: Cowan Pottery and the Cleveland School (A Schiffer Book for Collectors) produced by Schiffer Publishing (1997).
Jimmie Lee Stewart started deLee about 1936 creating animal and people figurines, wall pockets and a few cookie jars until about 1958. DeLee was in Los Angeles, California from 1937 through part of the 1950s.
DeLee pieces are hand-painted, often with closed eyes and long lashes or scared-open eyes. DeLee was marked with a foil sticker and sometimes a stamped mark on ecru clay. The children are particularly collectible, and some were planters.
Joanne Fulton Schaefer wrote a book on deLee Art in 1997, 144 pages of color photos in hardcover format entitled "Delee Art: The Pictorial Story of a California Artist and Her Company." (Ed. note: this book is apparently out of print, and may be difficult to find. The link to Abebooks gives all the information you should need to track it down, if you're so inclined.)
Desert Sands Pottery
Desert Sands Pottery, originally started by Arthur Evans, was in Boulder City, Nevada, producing swirl clay items from the 1940s until 1962. Desert Sands was located in Barstow, California, for a while, operated by Arthur's son, Ferrell and nephew, Terrell. Desert Sands swirl pottery has oxides added to make beautiful colors in the clay, and a clear glaze applied after the handmade pot is completed.
Dryden Pottery operated in Kansas from 1946 until 1956, when it moved to Arkansas. Dryden Hot Springs is one of the Arkansas marks used after the move, sometimes hand-written, sometimes in the mold.
Ozark Frontier was an early 1970s mark, according to G. L. Dybwad, author of Dryden Pottery of Kansas and Arkansas: An Illustrated History, Catalog, and Price Guide, published in 2001. Dryden used paper labels as well as in-mold and incised marks.
Ecanada Art Pottery
Ecanada art pottery operated in Hamilton, Canada, from 1926 until about 1952, making jasperware similar to Wedgwood. George Emery, Sr. was the driving force behind this pottery. It is marked in the mold with an incised eCanada Art Pottery stamp. DCP (Dundas Clay Products) and CPC (Canadian Porcelain Company) are marks related to the eCanada operation. Most of the eCanada products are pastel colors — blue, pink, yellow and green.
Brown family potters settled in Arden, North Carolina, in the 1920s. The four brothers — Davis, Javan, Willie and Rufus — became known for utilitarian kitchen ware, and Brown family descendants continue to produce pottery in the Arden area. Evan's pottery is one of the Brown family potters, in operation since 1955. Information online shows the business still in operation on Clayton Road in 2012.
Evans Ceramics of Healdsburg, California, has produced pottery since about 1960. Evans produces stoneware and low-fired raku for the decorator trade. The pottery is signed by hand in script with a distinctive "E" and a large "S". Tony Evans uses a studio art pottery approach, with handwork and individual designs and glazes. Tony Evans also made studio art glass.
Florence Ceramics was a Pasadena, California maker of girl and lady figurines and sometimes boys and men to match. It also made decorator items, plaques and a few utilitarian pieces during the 1940s until about 1964. Older Florence pieces are sometimes marked "Florence Figurines."
Franciscan Ware was one of the names of Gladding, McBean & Company, operating in California from about 1875. The Franciscan Ware dinnerware line started about 1934 and continued until about 1984, producing hand-painted dinnerware patterns with accessories. After a purchase by Interpace and one of the Wedgwood companies, a move to England ended U.S. production.
John Frank started Frankoma Pottery in Sapulpa, Oklahoma about 1936. The family operated the pottery after his death in 1973 until a sale in the 1980s. Frankoma changed the clay base several times, had several fires, and acquired Synar Pottery in the 1950s. It operated Synar as Gracetone Pottery through 1967. Most Frankoma pottery is marked, but the pacing leopard mark and John Frank marks are scarce.
Freeman-McFarlin was a California pottery operating in El Monte from the early 1950s until about 1980. The Anthony signature mark was from Anthony Freeman, one of the company owners and a designer of production figurines. Freeman-McFarlin also purchased and produced designs from other artisans, including Kay Finch.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is a visitor and nature center near Colorado Springs, CO, and the Garden of the Gods pottery is Native American style, much like Nemadji. We often see this pottery referred to as the same, but Garden of the Gods is Colorado pottery, while Nemadji is made in Moose Lake, Minnesota. Some of the Garden of the Gods pots appear to be glazed. Carol and Jim Carolton relate Garden of the Gods to Broadmoor in their Collector's Encyclopedia of Colorado Pottery: Identification and Values.
Georgia Art Pottery
Georgia Art Pottery was started in 1907 in Alvaton, Ga. by W. T. B. Gordy, father of W. J. Gordy. The pottery relocated to Aberdeen, Ga. and back to Alvaton, finally moving to Primrose in 1935.
Georgia Art Pottery is often marked "GA. Art Pottery" and "Handmade by W. J. Gordy." Pottery with this mark was produced in Primrose, Georgia, from 1935 until about 1955 when Gordy's son, D.X. Gordy, took over the shop.
D.X. Gordy was a folk art potter and a studio art potter who contributed to the museum in Lumpkin, Georgia. You can read more about the Gordy family in John A. Burrison's book entitled Brothers in Clay: The Story of Georgia Folk Pottery.
Gilmer Potteries grew out of the sale of Alamo Pottery in Gilmer, Texas in 1951. Three employees of Universal Rundle, the company that purchased Alamo, started the Gilmer Potteries operation in 1952. Gilmer produced art ware until about 1965, but also produced sanitary or utilitarian ware for the plumbing trade. Gilmer Potteries was sold to Hall China in 1977 and then sold to Olympic Tile.
Gilner Pottery of Culver City, California made pixies and other figurines from the 1930s to 1958. Many figurines are marked in the mold, but pixies are often unmarked unless they are attached to a planter.
Gladding McBean and Co.
Gladding McBean was in Lincoln, California in 1875, making brick products and sewer pipe. GMB moved to Los Angeles about 1924 after acquiring Tropico Pottery in the early 1920s. Gladding McBean began producing Franciscan products, with the dinnerware line started about 1934.
Franciscan Ware dinnerware was quality hand-painted table service, but Franciscan also made porcelain dinnerware service and miscellaneous decorator items. This was one of California's largest pottery operations, with plants in Los Angeles, Alberhill, Santa Monica and Glendale. Early dinnerware has the GMB mark in an oval, but later dinnerware has various Franciscan or product name marks.
Gonder Ceramic Arts
Lawton Gonder took over the old Zane Pottery building in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1941 and operated Gonder Ceramic Arts until about 1955. Between 1955 and 1957, Gonder produced tile. Some of the Gonder glazes are unusual and help identify the artware, but most Gonder is marked with "Gonder USA" or "Gonder Original."
Goss Vermont Pottery
Goss was made in Winooski, Middlebury and several Vermont towns over the years since 1970. Goss Vermont Pottery used interesting speckled glazes on much of their wares. Goss Vermont is marked with a script "Goss" and printed "Vermont" in a red clay body. This pottery is now Onion River Pottery, known for maple syrup jugs and advertising ware for enterprises around the state.
Guppy's was located in Corona del Mar, California in the 1940s and 1950s, making square plates and drip glaze pottery in browns, yellows and greens. Although this mini pitcher is marked only "Made in California" it is typical Guppy's pottery production.
Haeger Potteries has been in operation in Dundee, Illinois for about 140 years. Most of the Haeger pottery on the secondary market today was made in the last 50 years. Some Haeger pottery has a paper label and Haeger Floral is one of the less common labels we see. Other pieces are marked in the mold on the bottom, sometimes with a year or shape number.
The current Haeger Potteries website has the history of the potteries.
Hagen-Renaker Pottery operated a pottery in Monrovia, California, starting in 1946. Hagen-Renaker is known for miniatures with colored slip clay. Hagen-Renaker minis are often glued to a small card with the company name. Dogs, horses and Disney figurines were specialties, in miniature and larger sizes, sometimes marked with a foil sticker.
Hall China made dinnerware and vitreous china in East Liverpool, Ohio, but production of Autumn Leaf made it famous, starting in 1933. Autumn Leaf was a decal applied to kitchenware premiums for Jewel Tea Company. Hall discontinued Autumn Leaf in 1976 and reissued a few items in 1978 and a few more at a later date. The mark is stamped in small print but with excellent detail.
Hall China made dinnerware, kitchenware and advertising items along with Autumn Leaf for Jewel Tea Company. Many items are marked "Hall" in a circle. The most likely item you'll find is a teapot. Some of the Hall teapots are interesting shapes and very valuable.
Hampshire Pottery operated from Keene, New Hampshire as early as the 1870s, continuing production until 1917. It made utilitarian ware and art pottery with heavy glazes similar to Grueby. You'll occasionally see a thin-walled chocolate pot or fine dish made by Hampshire. The mark is a round red stamp but may also be an incised clay mark.
Harker Pottery began before the turn of the 20th century in Ohio and moved to Chester, West Virginia. It produced Harkerware as well as dinnerware sets for Sears and Montgomery Wards. Russel Wright designed White Clover, produced by Harker in the early 1950s. Harker discontinued business about 1972.
Harris G. Strong Pottery
Harris G. Strong Pottery made pottery, murals, paintings and tiles in Maine during the 1950s forward until his death in 2006, beginning in Bronx, New York around 1950 before moving to Trenton, Maine. His strong designs and mid-century modern art style kept him at the forefront of the industry in his artistic endeavors, working in pottery for years, then shifting his talent to wall decor, prints and paper in later life.
Strong used red clay for some of his pottery, typical of North Carolina wares, where he had studied engineering at North Carolina State University. His work is marked with the Harris G. Strong name.
Heath Ceramics of Sausalito, California, makes utilitarian and art pottery. Originally started by Edith Heath in 1948, this pottery uses one firing process and mid-century modern designs for quality dinnerware and decorative items, including tiles.
The pottery is still in business in 2012. Read more about the Heath Ceramics Heritage or see some of the most recent pieces for sale at their website.
Holt-Howard was an import company, not an American pottery. It imported Christmas items, merry mouse, cozy kitchen kittens and pixieware. The Holt-Howard pixie ware is collectible, and imitations abound.
Pixieware had elf or pixie faces on stoppers and lids of jam, honey and other utilitarian jars for the table and kitchen. You might call them fifties kitsch, inexpensive but cute, and now vintage.
Walter Dworkin wrote the book Price Guide to Holt-Howard Collectibles and Related Ceramicware of the 50s & 60s.
Homer Laughlin China Co.
Homer Laughlin is a dinnerware company, one of America's oldest. Starting business in Ohio in the 1870s, this company opened the Newell, W.Va. plant about 1907. Frederick Hurten Rhead, artistic director from 1927 until his death in 1942, gets credit for much of the success of HLC. "Fiesta" was one if his designs. Homer Laughlin made sets of shapes of dinnerware and applied different decals, creating numerous variations. For example, Virginia Rose is a shape (see Robbins Nest: Virginia Rose china patterns). You'll find this shape with different decals.
For more information on Homer Laughlin, see The Homer Laughlin China Company.
Howard Pierce operated his pottery in Claremont, California, starting in 1941, moving to Joshua Tree, California about 1968. Pierce continued production of pottery and sculptures until his death in 1994.
Hull Pottery Company
Hull Pottery Company started as A. E. Hull Pottery Company in 1905, and changed to Hull Pottery Company about 1952, operating in Crooksville, Ohio until 1986. "H" in a circle was an early Hull mark, and "hull" without a capital "H" was a late mark. Hull Art was hand-painted pottery.
William Hunt, of Columbus, Ohio, is a studio potter who works in earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. He edited Ceramics Monthly for over 20 years and has written about and taught ceramics as well as maintained a studio in Ohio in recent years. He marks his work with a stylized "H" and the year or "Hunt" and the year.
For more information, see Bill Hunt's website.
Hyalyn Porcelain operated in Hickory, North Carolina, starting about 1947. The name was changed to Hyalyn-Cosco and later Hyalyn Pottery. Hyalyn produced useful accessories for the home, including ashtrays, plaques, vases and table service items. Hyalyn ceased production about 1996.
Ineke Pottery is a Victoria, British Colombia, Canada, business that is sometimes found in the U.S. Ineke is often hand-turned with artisan decoration of applied flowers, in studio-pottery style.
Judy of California
Judy of California is one of the many potteries in California that started about the middle of the 20th century. The pottery was made of white clay, often with brown or drip glazes, and was mid-century modern style. We see planters and bowls and believe this pottery was operational into the mid-seventies, although little information is available in the California pottery books.
Jugtown Pottery is one of the Seagrove, North Carolina, pottery companies operated by the Owens family. It's been in business since 1922, and is still in operation in 2012 with a new stamp to commemorate 90 years of stamping with the Jugtown mark. Some Jugtown is marked with a date and other pieces are signed by Vernon, Pam or Travis Owens.
The round Jugtown Ware mark was used from the early 1920s until about 1960. The Owen and Teague families were Jugtown potters, and some of the Owen family added an "s" to the name. Ben Owen was sole potter at Jugtown for several years in the 1930s.
Kay Finch Ceramics
Kay Finch began Kay Finch Ceramics in 1939 in Corona del Mar, California. Dog figurines were her specialty, but the shop also produced a series of Christmas plates from about 1950 through 1962. She used paper labels and ink stamps along with some in-mold marks with "Kay Finch California" in script or printed. Kay Finch Ceramics went out of business about 1963.
Kaye of Hollywood
Kaye or Kaye of Hollywood made figurines in Hollywood, California, usually signed "Kaye" in script. Kaye Schueftan used "Kim Ward" as her signature after a copyright infringment lawsuit by Hedi Schoop, another Hollywood ceramicist for whom she worked before starting her own shop.
Knowles, Taylor, Knowles
Knowles, Taylor, Knowles was originally in East Liverpool, Ohio, but the California operation started in 1923 in Santa Clara, California by Homer Knowles. The California company used the K.T.K. of Calif. or K.T.K. mark. The business went bankrupt, maybe as early as 1924.
La Mirada Pottery
La Mirada Pottery operated in Los Angeles, California from 1935 until 1939. La Mirada made crackle and drip glazes and used an incised mark that was broken script. American Ceramics Products Company was the new name for La Mirada Pottery after 1939.
Lane and Company Pottery
Lane and Company, located in Van Nuys, California produced pottery items in the 1950s and 1960s, marked with Lane & Co. and sometimes the date in the mold. TV lamps, large serving and decorative pieces with airbrushed designs were typical Lane production. The pottery is thin with excellent color and a shiny glaze. The glaze sometimes makes it difficult to read the mark.
LaSolana started in Solana, California, in the 1940s, and moved to Glendale and later Scottsdale, Arizona, with distinctive mid-century modern dinnerware the primary output at the Mesa factory. This was called "Solana Ware" and the pottery was LaSolana Potteries, continuing operation through part of the 1980s. The smooth solid glazes and shapes identify Solana Ware, but much of this dinnerware is marked on the bottom.
Lenox was first known for belleek, thin fine porcelain with a pearl glaze. Lenox sold decorated ceramics at the Lenox Ceramic Art Company before the turn of the 20th century and started dinnerware production about 1902. Much of the Lenox production ware was porcelain, but Temperware was heavy utilitarian dinnerware for the modern 1970s family.
Lenox developed Temperware in 1972, so you won't find the mark on Lenox prior to that date. Temperware was oven-to-freezer-to-table technology that allowed the splendid dinnerware patterns to withstand heat and cold. The basic shape came in numerous decal patterns, some in flashy 1970s style.
For more information on Lenox China, see the Lenox website's History section.
Le Pere Pottery
Zanesville, Ohio, was the location of Le Pere Pottery from about 1936 through 1961. This company used paper labels and not many remain. Le Pere made animal figurines, small vases and pitchers, often with gold decoration. Many are similar to other companies, distinguishable only by size or decoration.
Louisville Stoneware is an old pottery company operating in Louisville, Kentucky, since about 1815. The Louisville Stoneware mark was in use after 1970. The business offers "paint your own" pottery days for children and adults, so you may find some unusual pieces. John B. Taylor and M.A. Hadley are names associated with Louisville Stoneware.
The company is still in operation in 2012. See their recent pieces at the Louisville Stoneware website.
Loy-Nel-Art was an early J. W. McCoy pottery line with a standard glaze of brown and hand-painted designs. This McCoy line was from about 1905 and often has an incised mark identifying it as Loy-Nel-Art.
Maddux of California
William Maddux made figurines, particularly birds, and the first Maddux pieces were marked "William Maddux" by hand. Later pieces were marked in the mold. Maddux operated in Los Angeles in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The factory was sold in 1948 but operated under the Maddux of California name until about 1980.
Learn more about the Maddux history on the Maddux Pottery website.
The first McCoy Pottery was started in 1848 in the Zanesville, Ohio, area. J. W. McCoy Pottery was founded in 1899 in Roseville. Several companies merged in 1911 to become Brush-McCoy Pottery Company, operating in Zanesville and Roseville. McCoy was sold to Lancaster Colony Corporation in 1974 and production continued, but the mark reflected the LCC ownership. McCoy Pottery was sold to Designer Accents in 1985 and closed in 1990.
For more information on McCoy's history, see the McCoy Pottery website.
McMaster Pottery was located in Dundas, Ontario, Canada from 1938 until 1988. McMaster made white clay figurines in the 1940s and some Disney pieces for Leeds, sometimes stamped with a black oval and the "McMaster" name. McMaster used red clay and a drip glaze much like Blue Mountain starting in the 1950s. This pottery is sometimes marked McMaster Craft, and often has souvenir identification.
Metlox opened in 1927 in Manhattan Beach, California, and was producing Poppytrail dinnerware in 1932. Metlox and the Poppytrail name were sold to Evan K. Shaw in 1946.
Shaw purchased Vernon Kilns and the Vernonware name in 1958. Metlox and Vernon Kilns were related companies, but production was not the same. Antigua was a pattern marked Vernon Ware by Metlox. Many of the Metlox Poppytrail marks had the design name on the stamped mark, including California Ivy, one of the most popular patterns.
Metlox closed in 1989, but it sold large quantities of hand-painted dinnerware over the years.
Learn more about Metlox Pottery history at Replacements Ltd.
Mexican Arts and Crafts Workshop
Mexican Arts and Crafts workshop operated in San Antonio, Texas, starting about 1931, under the guidance of Ethel Wilson Harris. She employed local artisans to design and decorate tile in the Mexican style. This enterprise became Mission Crafts by 1941, then located inside Mission San Jose.
This pottery and tile workshop was closely related to San Jose Mission pottery from San Antonio.
Mosaic Tile Company
Mosaic Tile Company was started before the turn of the 20th century in Zanesville, Ohio, and operated until 1967. It was a large and successful operation, purchasing other tile companies throughout the first half of the 20th century. It couldn't compete with imports after the 1950s and closed in 1967. Mosaic Tile Company used an entwined MTC in a circle for marking most of the tiles, but we see Mosaic in a racetrack oval on ashtrays and other Mosaic pieces.
Kovels.com has more information and some links to other Mosaic Tile pieces for the curious.
Mt. St. Helens Ashware
Mount Saint Helens Ashware produces souvenir pottery from volcanic ash from Mt. St. Helens, Washington, after the eruption of May 18, 1980. Mt. St. Helens clay is tan and ecru with a light swirl effect. The pottery is made in Cougar, Washington.
Nemadji Pottery was located in Moose Lake, Minnesota as early as 1922, producing tile. Eric Hellman of Van Briggle and Garden of the Gods fame developed the swirled paint pottery in 1929, and Nemadji made pots with clay from the Nemadji river and swirled paint until 2002. Although this pottery looks Native American, it isn't.
The Nemadji Collectors Club has more information for those interested.
Niloak Pottery was located in Benton, Arkansas, starting about 1910 through 1947. Niloak is known for swirl pottery called "Mission Ware" but it also made figurines and accessories for the home. Niloak is identified by incised marks in the clay, but much Niloak has a raised "Niloak" in the mold.
Read more about Niloak Pottery at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.
Dean A. Mogle started Nor-So Studio in about 1947 in Camden, Arkansas. Nor-So was a decorating company that used Camark for the base pottery. Mogle decorated Camark Pottery from 1947 until about 1958, when he decorated glass products until about 1965.
Onondaga Pottery, sometimes marked O.P.Co, began business in New York about 1871 and is best known for restaurant ware. O.P.Co. marked vitreous china with "Syracuse China" before the turn of the 20th century. Old Ivory was a colored clay body first available in 1926, followed by Adobe (tan body) in 1931.
R. Guy Cowan of Cowan Pottery fame was designer for Syracuse starting in 1933.
Syracuse acquired Meyer China about 1984 and Shenango China about 1988. Old Ivory is the near-translucent body used on its fine china.
Out of Hand Pottery
Out of Hand is a Sonora, California company that offers ceramics and clay programs so that others may learn the craft. Out of Hand allows visitors to glaze cups and plates for a fee that includes firing. Out of Hand offers group or individual classes and conducted special Christmas ornament classes in 2011.
See the Out of Hand website for more information.
Owen and Owens Potteries
Owen and Owens are pottery families working in Seagrove, North Carolina for over a century. Boyd Owens, the son of M. L. Owens, operates Owens Pottery in Seagrove in 2012. Ben Owen III operates under the Ben Owen Pottery name, participating in exhibits and displays throughout the state.
Ben Owen's website has a brief section on the Potter's Mark for the curious.
The Vernon Owens family operates Jugtown Pottery.
Pfaltzgraff was started in York County, Pennsylvania by German immigrants early in the 19th century, making crocks, jugs and jars for utilitarian purposes. Pfaltzgraff produced red clay flower pots during the Depression along with some figurines and art pottery. Art pottery production continued from about 1931 until 1937.
Pfaltzgraff produced dinnerware starting about 1950, with "Heritage" issued in 1963 and "Village" in 1976. Pflatzgraff manufactured bone china in the U.S. starting in 1988. The Pfaltzgraff mark is impressed into the wet clay. Although you may not be able to read the mark, you'll recognize the German architecture of the building that is part of the logo.
Pigeon Forge Pottery
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is the location of the Pigeon Forge Pottery, established about 1946 by the Ferguson family. Doug Ferguson and Ellis Ownby often signed their work. Pigeon Forge animals are an interesting area of collecting, but the dogwood decoration (shown) is most common. Pigeon Forge pottery closed in 1999.
The Ferguson family maintains a website on Pigeon Forge Pottery.
Potts Town or Potts Pottery
Potts Town Pottery of Seagrove, North Carolina makes hand-turned pottery on the wheel with lead-free glazes. This is studio pottery with a red clay base and a splendid glaze. Jeff and Linda Potts changed the name from Potts Town to Potts Pottery. This mug has the LP signature for Linda Potts and the year it was made.
HomegrownHandmade lists a website and more information on Potts Town Pottery, but the website is currently down. We'll update this if we can find another for you.
Purinton Pottery was located in Wellesville, Ohio from 1939 to 1941 and Shippenville, Pennsylvania, from 1941 through 1959. This company made yellow ware and hand painted dinnerware similar to Watt Pottery. Purinton was hand-decorated pottery without the use of decals or stencils. Purinton is only occasionally marked.
RedWing Pottery from Red Wing, Minnesota produced crockery before the turn of the 20th century and classic dinnerware during the 1950s. RedWing closed in 1967 but reopened in 1996 with pottery demonstrations and limited production. New items have the RedWing logo and a date stamp, but the older items aren't dated and aren't handmade, just hand painted.
Rick Wisecarver was both potter and artist, working in Roseville, Ohio. He used pottery for his canvas in the Weller style, first working for his mother, Yvonne Hoadley, who had a shop. Some of his pottery is marked Wihoas or Shezane, and the RW initials indicate his work. RS is his partner, Richard Simms. He is noted for Black Americana, cookie jars and Native Americana. Wisecarver died in 2002 at the age of 52.
Robinson Ransbottom operated a pottery in Zanesville, OH from 1900 until 2005 and marked many pots with R.R.P.Co. and Roseville, O. This mark causes confusion with collectors, as the immediate reaction is that this is Roseville Pottery, another company in the area that was much more famous. The marks aren't always the same, as you can see with this one.
Robinson-Ransbottom produced crockery, but also produced art pottery with fantastic glazes.
Rockdale Union Stoneware
Rockdale Union Stoneware was founded in 1984 by Peter Jackson in Cambridge, Wisconsin. In 1991, it moved to Edgerton, Wisconsin and expanded production, employing eight production potters and around 35 people total.
Rockdale Union Stoneware produced salt-glazed stoneware. The mark is sometimes impressed in the wet clay, but potter's marks may be incised by hand. Rockdale closed in 1997.
Peter Jackson maintains a website at Wakefield Studio.
Rocky Mountain Pottery Company
Rocky Mountain Pottery Company was started by Leland Huston in 1953 in Denver, Colorado. It moved to Loveland, Colorado in 1957. Rocky Mountain used pine and pine bark designs, sometimes with pinecones and pine scent. The pottery was sold in 1981 and closed in 1986. Pieces are occasionally marked ROMCO USA and sometimes have a paper label like the one shown. Other marks are "Rocky Mountain Pottery Company Hand-Crafted."
Here's an article on Historic Loveland Pottery with some brief information.
Rookwood Pottery of Cincinnati, Ohio was the most famous American pottery at the turn of the 20th century, and much of the early Rookwood was hand-painted by artists, using the pottery as a canvas. Rookwood pottery is marked with a logo formed from the "RP" initials and flames in a circle — a flame added for each year after 1886, up to 1900, which had 14 flames. Roman numerals identify the year of production from 1900 until 1967.
Roselane Pottery was in Pasadena, California and then Baldwin Park, California, operating from the 1930s until it was sold in 1973. Roselane made beautiful animals in Art Deco style and added plastic eyes to "Sparklers." Larger Roselane items are marked in the mold.
Rosemeade Pottery started as Wahpeton Pottery about 1940, in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Laura Taylor and her husband, Robert Hughes, changed the name to Rosemeade Pottery in 1953. Rosemeade made some swirl pottery, but most of its pottery production was molded.
Rosemeade used an ink stamp for most of the pottery production, along with foil labels. The pottery closed in 1961.
Roseville, Ohio, was the location of several potteries, including Roseville Pottery — one of the best known American pottery companies. Roseville Pottery's years of operation were from about 1890 until 1954, with the most desirable artware produced from about 1900 through the 1920s.
Roseville is usually marked in the mold with a script mark with a long tail on the "R" but yellow clay is a trademark of Ohio potteries.
Royal China made dinnerware in Sebring, Ohio starting about 1934 and continuing until about 1986. "Currier and Ives," the most popular pattern, was given as premiums at the A&P grocery stores in the 1950s. Royal China made many dinnerware patterns over the 50 years in existence.
Sometimes you can identify an unmarked plate with the USA impressed mark on a rounded ecru back, but most dinnerware sets had an individual stamp. The Currier and Ives mark was in a cartouche; the Star Glow mark shows the name with a star. Some of the marks identify the dinnerware as ironstone.
Robbins Nest has some more information on Royal China's history.
Royal Gorge Scenic Railroad
The Royal Gorge Scenic R.R. mark is found on pottery that looks like Garden of the Gods or Nemadji swirl pottery. These were souvenir pieces available for sale in the shop near the Railroad in Canon City, Colorado.
Eric Hellman developed the painting method for Nemadji Pottery in 1929. Nemadji was produced in Minnesota, using clay from the banks of the Nemadji River from about 1923 until about 2001. Garden of the Gods pottery opened in 1950 in Colorado with Eric Hellman as owner. He had been with Broadmoor Pottery a year (1935), and with Van Briggle before that.
The Royal Gorge Scenic R.R. mark doesn't tell us which pottery company made these.
See Haeger Potteries. Haeger made Royal Haeger while Royal Hickman was affiliated with the company.
George RumRill was born in Gainesville, Texas, but worked from Little Rock, Arkansas to get his designs produced by the potteries. He designed RumRill pottery, but it was made by other companies, including RedWing (1931), Shawnee (1938), Florence (1939) and Gonder (1943). RumRill was marked in the mold and usually included a shape number. You'll also find RumRill shapes with the RedWing name, made after the RumRill-RedWing contract ended.
Antiqueweek.com has a brief history on RumRill Pottery for the curious.
Rupert Deese Pottery
Rupert Deese started working in Claremont, California, about 1950, after graduation from Pomona College. He completed his Master of Fine Arts from Claremont College in 1957 and taught ceramics in Walnut, California.
He was a designer for Franciscan pottery for 20 years until his retirement in 1984. He designed Madiera, one of the popular Franciscan shapes. He died in 2010 at the age of 85 after a long life of pottery production. He used an impressed RD script in a circle to mark his work, but the chocolate stoneware and mid-century shapes also identify his legacy.
San Jose Potteries
San Jose Potteries operated from the 1920s to 1945 in San Antonio, Texas, and was a sister company to Mexican Arts and Crafts, operated by Ethel Wilson Harris in San Antonio from 1931 to 1941. These related businesses were glazed with the guidance of Ethel Harris, as she supervised San Jose Potteries in her work with the Works Progress Administration (WPA), an effort to put people back to work in the 1930s performing reconstruction and public works projects.
Some San Jose Mission pottery is not marked, some is marked in heavy pen and some has a sticker identifying it with the "San Jose Potteries" name. Calla Lily dinnerware was a San Jose Potteries product.
Sascha Brastoff operated a pottery in Los Angeles starting about 1952. His work is mid-century modern style with hand-created art on pottery, and he had artisans who executed his designs. The pottery was open until about 1973.
Brastoff designed a Roman line for Royal Haeger and worked in metal sculpture, jewelry and holograms before his death in 1993. Brastoff pieces are often marked "Sascha" on the front or with a rooster logo and the full name on the back. Pieces marked with the full "Sascha Brastoff" name on the front are likely his personal work.
You can read more about Sascha Brastoff in the Collector's Encyclopedia of Sascha Brastoff: Identification & Values by Steve Conti, A. Dewayne Bethany and Bill Seay (1995).
Sebring was one of the Ohio potteries (located in Sebring, OH.) that began operation about the turn of the 20th century, producing dinnerware and decorative plates.
Some marks show the Sebring name in the Ohio outline; others show "S.P. Co." Sometimes the mark shows the pattern name, such as "Toledo Delight." Sebring was purchased by Royal China in 1964.
Sebring, Ohio was a center for dinnerware production. You can see more Sebring potteries at the Sebring Ohio Historical Society.
Shawnee Pottery was one of the Zanesville, Ohio potteries. Shawnee started production in 1936 and was in operation until 1963. It made "Corn King" for which it is best known, but it also produced salt and pepper shakers and extensive lines of kitchenware, along with flower pots and planters.
The Kenwood mark is also Shawnee pottery. (We don't currently have a photo of this mark, but will add it at the first opportunity.)
Shawnee produced "Corn King" dinnerware line from 1941 until about 1961, but the line changed over the years, as explained in this article from the Appalachian Antique Mall.
Shenango China made vitreous china or restaurant ware in New Castle, PA. from the 1920s until the company was sold to Interpace in 1968. It made Castleton China from about 1940 to 1968, a fine porcelain dinnerware comparable to Lenox. Shenango marks are stamped in black and include a coded manufacturing date.
Wallace China and Mayer China became subsidiaries of Shenango in the 1960s. Castleton and Mayer were purchased from Shenango by Interpace in 1968. Shenango became a division of Syracuse China about 1990.
The Lawrence County Historical Society maintains an article on the history of Shenango China, if you want more in-depth information.
Hill Pottery in Trenton, New Jersey became Fulper Pottery, and Martin Stangl changed the name to Stangl Pottery in 1929.
Martin Stangl was a ceramic engineer first hired by Fulper in 1910. Stangl pottery closed in 1978. Stangl used paper and foil labels and also marked some of the output with an in-mold mark or number. It used a black or gold backstamp with the Stangl name in an oval as well. Other pieces are unmarked but the glazes are unusual and often help identify the products.
Stangl made bird figurines along with hand-painted dinnerware, decorator items and jewelry.
Syracuse China started as Onondaga Pottery in Syracuse, New York. It produced vitreous porcelain for the restaurant trade as well as dinnerware for the American table. "Shelledge" and "Federal" were popular thin porcelain shapes.
Syracuse is marked with an under-glaze stamp, often in green.
Taylor, Smith, Taylor
Taylor, Smith and Taylor was a dinnerware company in Chester, West Virginia, from 1899 through the 1970s. Some Taylor, Smith patterns are marked T.S.T. while others were named Taylormade or Taylorstone.
Universal Potteries was located in Cambridge, Ohio from 1934 to 1955 and the "Ballerina" shape was one of the best sellers with Cattails the decal you're most likely to see. Ben Seibel, a famous 20th century designer of dinnerware, with designs for Iroquois, Steubenville, Roseville Raymor and Mikasa, designed some of the Universal lines.
Much of the Universal production was marked with a round stamp, but Ballerina has a rectangular stamp with the ballerina logo.
Vallona Starr is the name of a California pottery company operated by Valeria Dopyera de Marsa and Everett and Leona Frost starting about 1946 in El Monte, although they made ceramics for a gift store from home 10 years prior to that time. The ceramics operation closed in 1953 and molds were sold, possibly to Gilner.
Much of the Vallona Starr output wasn't marked, but some pieces are marked in the mold. Others are identifiable because of the smooth glaze, gold edging or identifiable shape.
Vallona Starr made salt and pepper shakers you might find on the secondary market. Bernice Stamper published a book entitled Vallona Starr Ceramics (A Schiffer Book for Collectors) in 1995.
Van Briggle Pottery
Artus Van Briggle worked with Rookwood before heading to a dryer climate because of his health to start Van Briggle Pottery in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1899. He and his wife, Anne, worked together about 5 years before his death from tuberculosis.
VanBriggle Pottery has been in continuous business for more than 100 years, but is in reorganization in 2012. Early wares and figurines sell well in the American art pottery market.
Read more about the VanBriggle history on their website: Van Briggle Pottery & Tile.
Vernon Kilns operated in the old Poxon China building in Vernon, California starting about 1931. Vernon Kilns produced artistic designs and figurines through the 1930s, but discontinued production prior to World War II. It continued dinnerware and souvenir plate production until 1958. Vernon closed in 1958 and Metlox Pottery purchased the molds and produced some of the Vernon designs.
Vernon Kilns plates are often marked with a horizontal line of writing, "Vernon Kilns Made in U.S.A." Dinnerware had a circular stamp, sometimes with the name of the series, such as "Native California."
Vohann of California
Vohann of California is a pottery in San Clemente that's been making giftware and bathroom accessories such as figural soap dishes and toothbrush holders since 1950. Vohann was in Capistrano Beach prior to San Clemente, and uses a paper label as well as marks in the mold.
Joseph VonTury came to the U.S. from Hungary in 1932, first working in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and eventually settling in Metuchen, New Jersey. He created single-fired ceramics in a studio setting.
Vontury used pastel glazes and impressionistic art designs, creating large vases, tiles, ashtrays, and figurines. The clay was a light beige, and most pieces are hand-signed in script in the wet clay. Vontury maintained the studio until his death in 1992.
Wallace China made restaurant ware in Huntington Park, California, from 1931 until about 1964. "Desert Ware" was a tan body vitreous porcelain, sometimes decorated with transfer patterns. Coffee mugs made for the restaurant trade can still be found on the secondary market.
Mugs are stamped "Wallace China."
Wallace was famous for some of its western patterns, including "Westward Ho" with branding marks around the rim.
Warwick China made pottery and dinnerware from semi-porcelain and vitrified china in Wheeling, W. Va. from the turn of the 20th century until about 1951. Warwick used both hand-painted and decal decorations, and did some portraits on some of the wares.
The stamped mark was a helmet and crossed swords with the name "Warwick" and sometimes "IOGA."
For a better look at the IOGA mark, see Kovels.com.
Watt Pottery made yellow clay pottery in Crooksville, Ohio, from about 1922 until 1965. Some Watt pottery was fired at temperatures that allowed it to be used for baking in the oven. It also made dinnerware lines with hand-painted decoration of apples, starflowers, roosters, foliage, teardrops and tulips.
Watt Pottery used an impressed circular mark on some pieces. The marks may be a large impressed circle with "Ovenware" and USA or "Eve-N-Bake." "RF Spaghetti" and "Cabinart" are Watt production. So are "Heirloom," "Esmond" and "Kathy Kale."
Weil of California
Max Weil started Weil of California in Los Angeles, CA in 1941, creating vases, figurines and dinnerware. Malay Blossom was one of the dinnerware lines. Weil used some coralene or fine glass applications on his vases.
Weil is often marked with a burro logo and the "Weil Ware" name, along with "Made in California." Weil also used a foil sticker. Pottery production ended with Max Weil's death in 1954.
Artisans signed or initialed the hand-painted pieces, and some lines had the name of the product, such as "Louwelsa" or "Eocean" in the mark on the bottom. Weller used an impressed script mark, sometimes "Weller Pottery Since 1872" and a stamped half-kiln mark as well as several circular marks. Most Weller production was yellow or light-colored clay.
Winart Pottery was made in Miami, Oklahoma, from 1951 until about 1972. Winart made cups, mugs, tumblers and jugs. Most of the production has a drip glaze, making it easily identifiable.
Winart was marked with a foil label and some pieces have a script mark impressed on the bottom. You can see some Winart pieces in the Frankoma and Other Oklahoma Potteries (A Schiffer Book for Collectors) by Phyllis and Tom Bess.
Winfield China was made in Pasadena, California from 1929 to about 1946 when it moved to Santa Monica. Winfield continued business until about 1962. Winfield made dinnerware lines as well as vases and accessories, some with hand-painted designs.
"Winfield China" is stamped in a script, along with "Pasadena" or "California" in block letters. "Gabriel Pasadena" is also a Winfield China mark, used after American Ceramic Products Company (formerly La Mirada) took over the Winfield name in the 1940s.
"Winfield Ware Santa Monica" is a mark used after the 1946 move from Pasadena to Santa Monica.
W.J. Gordy Pottery
Georgia Art Pottery and W.J. Gordy pottery were in several Georgia locations from 1907 until into the 1980s. W.T.B. Gordy started the original pottery, and his sons, W.T. Gordy and D.X. Gordy continued the tradition. Some of the pottery is marked "Ga. Art Pottery" in a circle, while other pieces are marked "Hand Made by W. J. Gordy."